Ever felt as if the world’s biggest payment processors were like cartels? Oftentimes, it’s almost impossible to find a low-cost payment gateway that wouldn’t fix prices at a stellar interest or add extra fees per transaction.
Besides the low cost, you also want to partner up with a reliable bank and integrate a secure tech solution to authorize and settle payments smoothly for both you and your customer.
In this article, we’ve decided to bring a comprehensive online payment gateway fees comparison and save you quite some time on finding the best one for your business. Having dealt with hundreds of payment gateways over the past 13 years at Elogic, we can surely help you make heads or tails of the most popular payment processors and their fees.
Read on to find how to choose the right payment gateway and see the payment gateway comparison chart.
|Payment Gateway||Hosted or integrated||Requires SSL||Bundled Merchant Account||Monthly fees||Transaction fees||Countries||Currencies||On-form payments||Recurring billing||Mobile payments|
|PayPal Standard||Hosted||No||Yes||No startup costs or monthly fees||2.9% + $0.30 per transaction||203||25||❌||✅||✅|
|PayPal Pro||Integrated||Yes||Yes||$30||2.9% + $0.30 per transaction||3||25||✅||✅||✅|
|Helcim||Integrated/Hosted||Yes||Yes||None||Interchange + 0.5% + $0.25 per transaction||2||2||✅||✅||✅|
|Authorize.Net||Integrated/Hosted||Yes||No||$25||2.9% + $0.30 per transaction||5||11||✅||✅||✅|
|2Checkout (now Verifone)||Integrated/Hosted||No||Yes||None||3.5% + $0.35 per transaction||200+||87||❌||✅||✅|
|Stripe||Integrated/Hosted||Yes||Yes||None||2.9% + $0.30 per transaction||25||135+||✅||✅||✅|
|Braintree||Integrated/Hosted||Yes||Yes/No (depending on plan)||$49||2.9% + $0.30 per transaction||45||130+||✅||✅||✅|
|WePay||Hosted||Yes||No||None||2.9% + $0.30 per transaction||USA only||US dollar only||❌||✅||✅|
|Square||Hosted||Yes||No||None||2.9% + $0.30 per transaction.||8||1||✅||❌||✅|
Best Payment Gateway Providers Comparison: The Showdown of the Top Dogs
A payment gateway is a technology used by merchants to accept debit or credit card payments. It is like a point-of-sale (POS) at a brick-and-mortar store but for a digital shop. Your choice of a payment gateway will depend largely on your business requirements as well as on your customer geography.
At a glance, all of these gateways look very similar but differ in their applications. Read on to find an online payment gateway comparison with all providers that we have integrated at Elogic and that our clients loved.
Spoiler alert: don’t expect to find a no-transaction fee payment gateway on the list. Some of the providers may be cheaper than others, but there’s absolutely no way to escape paying per-transaction fees.
PayPal: Best Payment Gateway Worldwide
Supported currencies: 25 currencies in 200+ countries.
Transaction fees: 2.9% + $0.30 for US transactions, and 3.9% plus a standard fee for international payments.
In all online payment gateway comparisons, PayPal stands as the most popular provider in the market. Its name is synonymous with excellent customer service, quick transfers, and the highest conversion rates when compared to other payment types.
The vendor offers two solutions for ecommerce merchants: PayPal Standard and PayPal Pro. The payment gateway pricing will depend on the solution you choose.
- PayPal Standard is a hosted solution for small to medium-sized businesses available in 190 countries in different currencies. There are no setup fees, termination fees, or merchant accounts needed to set up; however, a merchant shall expect to pay 2.9 percent + 30¢ per transaction for the US transactions. Volume discounts apply if you process more than $3,000 in transactions with PayPal monthly.
- PayPal Pro for enterprises expands the list of features presented in PayPal Standard. You can integrate the gateway into your website and provide customers with a custom checkout experience (so the users won’t be redirected to the PayPal page as in the standard plan). You’ll also get a Virtual Terminal to accept payments by phone, fax, and mail. These extra features will cost you a $30 monthly fee in addition to the PayPal standard transaction fees.
If you already have a payment processor integrated in your website, you can also use PayPal Checkout. It will appear as an extra PayPal button on your checkout, and your shoppers will have a variety of options to pay their order. No setup or monthly fees apply here; you’ll just need to pay 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction in the United States.
Helcim: Lowest Transaction Fee Ecommerce Payment Gateway
Supported currencies: 2 currencies (only CAD and USD) in multiple countries.
Transaction fees: Interchange plus 0.5% and 25 cents per online transaction. The rate gets cheaper as your volume of sales increases.
Helcim was first launched in Canada in 2006 and offers the lowest payment gateway fees in this payment processor fees comparison. Using the interchange-plus pricing model, it charges no monthly or statement fees and gives you a one-key access to all resources you might need to run a business (e.g. a merchant account, a free POS reader, a hosted online store and payment pages, online invoicing and customer portal, etc.)
Even though Helcim is available only in two currencies (CAD and USD), you can still accept your customers’ payments from around the world. You will still receive payments in your local currency, while your shoppers will incur a conversion fee.
The payment gateway charges are broken into a tier system that saves you money the more transactions you process each month. That’s why we recommend integrating Helcim for high-volume retailers processing more than $5,000 per month.
Square: Best for omnichannel commerce
Supported currencies: 7 currencies in 8 countries.
Transaction fees: 2.9% + $0.30 transaction fee or 3.5% + $0.15 transaction (depending on the type of transaction).
In this payment processor comparison, Square stands as the best option for retailers who sell both online and offline. It essentially turns your customers’ devices into a POS terminal. The payment processor reads your users’ credit cards on a smart device or allows you to manually enter credit card details in-person or via the phone.
Read more: eCommerce POS integration
The main benefit of Square is that it’s incredibly easy to set up and use. You can either install it as a plugin or cut and paste a snippet of code to create a checkout right on your website.
As far as the Square pricing is concerned, there are no hidden fees, like setup, authorization, refund, PCI-compliance, business card, etc. However, you will incur 2.9% + $0.30 transaction fee (in case of Square invoices, APIs, and card-on-file payments) or 3.5% + $0.15 transaction fee (for manually entered credit cards on POS and online).
Stripe: Best for Its Versatility
Supported currencies: 135+ currencies in 46 countries.
Transaction fees: 2.9% + $0.30 transaction fee.
While Square excels in mobile payment processing, Stripe is geared towards ecommerce payment processing. The biggest advantage of Stripe is its free and flexible API.
Unlike other providers in this payment gateway comparison, Stripe charges no monthly fee and offers a standard 2.9% + $0.30 fee for handling online credit card transactions. Note that Stripe accepts all kinds of payment methods, except PayPal.
Stripe payment processing platform is developer-oriented, thus, allowing a merchant to build a custom checkout experience. This might be problematic for startups who have no in-house tech team or can’t afford to hire an ecommerce developer; still, mid-sized and large businesses will find Stripe customization tools useful to meet their complex and specific ecommerce needs.
For instance, Benum, the Norwegian consumer electronics brand and Elogic client, has consolidated and relaunched payments with Stripe. We have integrated the payment gateway with their shop, and the brand can now easily accept payments from any B2B buyer in the Nordics region.
Braintree: Best for High-Volume Merchants Who Seek Customization
Supported currencies: 130+ currencies in 28 countries
Transaction fees: 2.9% + $0.30 transaction fee.
Despite being a subsidiary of PayPal, Braintree is hard to miss in an ecommerce payment gateway comparison. It includes built-in PayPal Express Checkout functionality and supports non-hosted custom checkout at no extra cost.
As a truly international payment gateway, Braintree supports payments from a variety of web wallets, like Google Pay and Apple Pay. A free API allows a merchant to smoothly integrate the checkout directly and preserve the aesthetics and brand identity of the store.
When it comes to payment gateway price comparison, Braintree will charge you a silent industry standard of 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction. No monthly fees apply.
Insider tip: if you choose to integrate both PayPal and Braintree into your store checkout, don’t turn one Express Checkout functionality on both providers. Otherwise, the two versions will conflict with one another.
WePay: Best for SaaS Companies & Startups
Supported currencies: 3 currencies (USD, Euro, and Canadian Dollar) only in the US.
Transaction fees: 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction.
In this ecommerce payment gateway comparison, WePay wins a prize as the best option for SaaS companies, fundraisers, and startups in the US. It preserves all the functionalities of PayPal, plus adds a flexible API for merchants to integrate the checkout right into their store. It’s also praised for its security features offering the service of fraud and risk protection.
WePay doesn’t handle big transaction flows, but it’s not the biggest downside of WePay, though. The platform requires small businesses to work with WePay partners (JPMorgan Chase being one of the few) to accept payments within your platform.
The transaction fee is pretty standard (2.9% + $0.30 per transaction), and no setup or monthly fees apply.
Authorize.net: Best for B2B Businesses
Supported currencies: 10+ currencies in 30+ countries.
Transaction fees: setup fees + 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction.
Authorize.Net has been around since 1996. Their seniority in the payment gateway market is a sign of reliability and security. It offers the Advanced Fraud Detection Suite to identify and prevent fraudulent transactions as well as a developer API to customize your payment experience with a mobile-optimized solution. The platform also gives you the option of connecting your own merchant account.
Read more: Ecommerce Fraud Prevention Techniques
However, Authorize.Net loses in the payment gateway fees comparison as it doesn’t have any features that differ greatly from other more affordable options. In addition to the standard 2.9% + $0.30 transaction fees, a merchant would have to pay a $49 setup fee + $25 per month.
2Checkout (now Verifone): Best International Payment Gateway
Supported currencies: 100+ currencies in 234 countries.
2Checkout fees: 3.5% + $0.35 per transaction.
2Checkout is one of PayPal Pro’s main competitors in this online payment gateway comparison. Their latest version offers an all-in-one monetization platform that can handle simple transactions, subscription-based products, and digital goods. Like PayPal, 2Checkout supports multiple currencies all around the world, which makes it one of the best payment gateway for international transactions.
Still, watch out for some caveats in payment gateway charges comparison:
- 2Checkout’s transaction fees — 3.5% + $0.35 — are the highest on the market.
- 2Checkout supports more currencies, but currency exchange rates are higher than average (2%-5% billed on top of the daily bank exchange rate)
The higher fees are justified by extra features of 2Checkout that its cheaper competitors don’t offer. That’s why large enterprises choose to work with 2Checkout.
How to Choose the Best Payment Gateway? Ask These 4 Important Questions
Before diving into online payment methods comparison, sit down at the negotiation table with your ecommerce team and set your expectations straight away. Ask yourself the following questions.
1) Is a payment gateway hosted or integrated?
A hosted or third-party gateway means your customers are redirected from your website to a secure page where they can enter their credentials (for example: PayPal). Once the payment is processed, the customer is redirected back to confirm the order and continue with checkout.
In an integrated gateway, your customers won’t have to leave your website to type in payment info and to place orders. This generally requires an SSL certificate, which is the standard encryption method to ensure the customer’s data is secure.
A hosted gateway is easier to integrate because the provider is fully responsible for security. On the other hand, an integrated gateway gives you more control over your store checkout branding. Since your customers will stay on your website, you can upsell or cross-sell your items or introduce your own rules to achieve your business KPIs.
For instance, our client, Saudi coffee roasters, had an objective to increase the average order value (AOV). We proposed and implemented an integrated payment gateway with an enticing notification of how many more items a user has to purchase to unlock free shipping. Now shoppers can easily modify their cart and pay for their order right from the website, and the business enjoys higher profits.
2) Are your customers familiar with your chosen payment gateway?
Reputation is everything. If you choose a payment gateway users aren’t familiar with or decide to skip the SSL certificate, don’t be surprised to see exorbitantly high cart abandonment rates.
The trick is to look into which payment methods your customers trust. For instance, Datatrans is widely popular in Switzerland.
So our clients at Elogic, such as Glassmania and Helvetiq, narrowed down their choices to this specific payment gateway. It offers the best possible fraud protection and ensures PCI Level 1, which convinces the customers their credit card information won’t be compromised.
Ecommerce shops that grossly neglect security and endanger user privacy and data have low customer trust and, hence, decreased conversion rates. Bottom line.
3) Does the payment gateway come bundled with a merchant account?
Small businesses should be particularly interested in a bundled merchant account when they compare online payment providers. The reason is quite obvious: with bundled accounts, you generally pay lower monthly fees.
If your business already has a merchant account and you want to connect it to your gateway of choice, make sure your current merchant account is compatible with the gateway.
4) Does the gateway have monthly fees, transaction fees, or both?
A very important consideration is cost. Since you incur most of the fees, your choice of payment gateway should heavily depend on their fee structure.
Some payment gateways like PayPal Pro and Authorize.Net charge a small monthly fee (<$30) in addition to a per-transaction fee, which can add up if you extrapolate over the course of a fiscal year. Usually, you get access to a richer feature set; but you have to consider how your business will benefit from them before signing up for a payment gateway with a monthly fee.
Besides, you can look into volume discounts if your business handles a high volume of sales/orders. Helcim mentioned above is pretty transparent in its fees and states the tiered fees upfront. However, more often than not, payment gateway providers do not explicitly state what these discounts are, so you may need to give them a call to find out.
Takeaways — The best payment gateway for ecommerce?
Your choice of payment gateway for your store will stem from your business requirements. That’s the main takeaway from this payment gateway comparison. Whether you’re looking for security, cost-effectiveness, or smooth checkout integration, you should choose the one that serves your business interests.
Let us only give you a few final recommendations before you leave:
- Read into the payment gateway features carefully. There’s no point in paying extra for the tools you don’t plan to use in the long run.
- Choose the payment gateway your customers trust. Give your users an extra reason to shop with you and reduce your cart abandonment rate.
- Don’t hesitate to integrate more than one payment gateway. Almost all solutions on our payment provider comparison list are free to set up, so you can try them out without much commitment.
Last but not least, you can take advantage of the payment gateways previously integrated with your ecommerce platform. Consider Adobe Commerce: it supports PayPal, Braintree, and Authorize.Net out-of-the-box and has a flexible API to integrate any other payment solution.
Whatever your choice of a payment gateway, give us a call at Elogic. We have extensive background integrating any kind of third-party service, including payment processors, and will help you both choose the best one for your business and implement it on your website.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a payment gateway?
A payment gateway is a technology that allows a merchant to accept credit and debit card payments. A few examples of the best ecommerce payment gateways are PayPal, Authorize.net, Stripe, and Square.
How to choose the right payment gateway for ecommerce?
To choose the best payment gateway, you have to consider your business objectives. Compare payment gateway costs, pay attention to the transaction, monthly, and setup fees, and make sure they’re justified for your needs. Decide on whether you wish to go the easy way and add a hosted gateway that redirects to the website of the provider; or whether you’d like to showcase your branding at checkout and integrate the gateway into your store.
How much does it cost to integrate a payment gateway?
Your payment gateway integration cost will vary based on your needs and will be calculated in hours of developer work. If your ecommerce architecture is coherent, adding a hosted payment gateway will be a matter of hours and might cost you $25-$50. Meanwhile, implementing and customizing an integrated gateway will take more time and effort on the side of the development team, which will be reflected in costs. Some providers also charge payment gateway API cost (e.g. $17.50 for Amazon Pay).
Reach out to us at Elogic to get a more specific estimate for your integration project.
Which is the best payment gateway for international transactions?
The top 10 international payment gateway for ecommerce include PayPal, Stripe, Authorize.Net, 2Checkout, Amazon Pay, Braintree, Ayden, Alipay Global, WorldPay, and Opayo.
How does payment gateway work?
Payment gateways work in a similar way to POS systems. A user enters their credit card details and initiates the purchase by clicking the “Buy now” or “Pay now” button. A payment gateway sends a request to the issuing bank ensuring the cardholder has sufficient funds. Once the transaction is approved by the bank, the gateway sends the information about the successful purchase back to the retailer’s website, and the money is moved from the customer’s issuing bank to the merchant’s account.